A trip to France is already the stuff of dreams — but a stay at a newly-restored 18th century French chateâu will immediately make you the envy of your friends and family. Karen and Craig Waters of Perth Australia purchased the dilapidated property in 2013 while visiting their daughter who was on a study abroad program in France, and they’ve been hard at work restoring it ever since.
The Château de Gudanes in Verdun was built in 1741 for Louis Gaspard de Sales, Marquis de Gudanes, an influential member of Toulouse Parliment. He was dubbed King of the Pyrénées, after the range of mountains and hills the chateâu overlooks.
The Waters have spent the past four years restoring the 94-room property — and now they’re prepared to open it as a hotel. Be still, our Francophile hearts.
Although the restoration process is ongoing, the property is now fit to be visited by members of the public. Those lucky guests will get to experience an unparalleled taste of life in Ariège and soak in the stunning views of the Midi-Pyrénées.
The restoration was no easy feat — you would never guess from looking at it now, but approximately 500 tons of rubble had to be removed. Missing walls, ceilings, and floors were installed during the process. The couple also made some fascinating discoveries, including a deep hole in the ground that likely served as an escape tunnel to the local village during World War II.
Bones, a fresco painting, ceramics, and Venetian glassware were also unearthed during the restoration. The Waters plan to release a book about the process in 2018.
They’re awaiting permission from the historic society to officially open the chateâu as a boutique hotel — but, for now, guests can check it out this summer.
Three workshops will be held, each with a specific focus: traditional cuisine, bric-a-brac, and (our personal favorite) “seven starry nights,” which will include a mix of restoration, yoga, and relaxation.
When the hotel opens its doors, the experience won’t be about maximalism.
Are you clamoring to stay at Château de Gudanes? (That’s obviously a rhetorical question.) Check out the official website and follow the journey on Instagram for updates, then get ready to pack your bags!